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Kinkisharyo to expand rail-car facility under new agreement, L.A. Mayor Garcetti says


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) officials announced yesterday that an agreement has been reached between Kinkisharyo International L.L.C. and labor and community groups to resolve an impasse that would have resulted in the company locating its manufacturing operations outside Los Angeles County for the next order of LACMTA light-rail cars.

The agreement calls for Kinkisharyo to expand the current light-rail car assembly and testing operations at its existing site in Palmdale, Calif., to include manufacturing tasks that will create up to 250 jobs. The 175 cars being worked on at the plant will be put into service on the Crenshaw, Exposition and extended Gold lines. The pact includes a neutrality agreement and a commitment to explore additional skills training and assistance for disadvantaged county workers, according to a press release issued by Garcetti's office.

Garcetti, who also serves as LACMTA chairman, recently intervened to jumpstart the stalled talks among the parties.

"As I oversee the nation’s largest public works project as mayor and [LACMTA] chair, it's critical to me that our economy benefits from our $36 billion transportation build out, and this agreement makes that happen," he said.

Kinkisharyo is assembling and testing 78 light rail cars at the Palmdale facility under a 2012 LACMTA contract. The agreement calls for the facility to be expanded to perform additional manufacturing tasks and employ up to 250 people to fulfill an order for 97 additional cars, as well as perform work on future orders.

Under other agreement terms:
• LACMTA will work with the Jobs to Move America coalition to develop new public records act protocols;
• labor and community groups settled a public record act lawsuit and agreed that all environmental challenges to the project are now moot; and
• the company and coalition will explore opportunities for disadvantaged county workers, including military veterans, women and minorities.

Kinkisharyo General Manager Donald Boss expressed satisfaction with the agreement, which involved the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union No. 11.

"These negotiations were not easy, but we are confident that as a result of our agreement with IBEW 11, we will continue to do what we do best — manufacture quality rail cars and deliver them on time and on budget," Boss said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/26/2014